I could never wind down at night and clear my head until I developed these 9 nightly habits

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Getting my mind to slow down at the end of the day was a constant struggle. It felt like an endless loop of thoughts, anxieties, and to-do lists.

Then I developed these 9 nightly habits.

These habits have become my lifesaver, helping me to finally clear my mind and wind down after a long day.

So, if you’re like me and have trouble switching off at night, keep reading. I’ll share my personal routine that could be your ticket to a peaceful night’s sleep.

1) Establish a bedtime routine

Creating a regular sleep schedule was my first step in finding nightly peace.

Our bodies thrive on routine. We are biologically wired to sleep and wake at the same times each day. And when we disrupt these patterns, it can lead to insomnia and other sleep issues.

Hence, I decided to establish a bedtime routine.

This meant going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends. It sounds simple, but it made a huge difference.

Within a few weeks, I noticed my body naturally winding down as bedtime approached. And getting up in the morning became less of a struggle.

2) Create a calming bedtime ritual

Once I had a sleep schedule in place, I started to focus on what I was doing before bed each night.

I noticed that my pre-bed activities were often stimulating rather than relaxing. I would watch TV, scroll through social media or even do work, all activities that kept my mind buzzing with thoughts.

So, I decided to create a calming bedtime ritual.

For me, this involved reading a book for 30 minutes before bed. The act of focusing on the words and the story helped divert my thoughts from the stresses of the day.

But it wasn’t just any book. It had to be a physical book, not an e-book. The blue light emitted by electronic devices can interfere with your body’s natural sleep patterns.

This personal change worked wonders for me. It was as if the simple act of turning each page helped me turn my thoughts off one by one.

Creating a relaxing bedtime ritual is a personal thing – it might take some trial and error to find what works best for you. But once you do, it can be a game-changer in helping your mind wind down at night.

3) Limit caffeine intake in the evening

Caffeine is a stimulant that can keep you awake. It’s found not only in coffee but also in tea, chocolate, soda, and some medications.

While a cup of coffee in the morning can kickstart your day, consuming caffeine within six hours of your bedtime can interfere with your sleep schedule.

According to researchers, consuming caffeine even six hours before bedtime can significantly disrupt sleep.

So, if you’re having trouble winding down at night, it might be worth taking a look at when and how much caffeine you’re consuming. Perhaps swapping that evening cup of joe for a herbal tea or warm milk could be the key to a peaceful night’s sleep.

4) Keep a sleep diary

When I was struggling with winding down, I wasn’t sure what was causing my restlessness. Was it my diet? My bedtime routine? Stress?

To figure it out, I started keeping a sleep diary.

Each morning, I would note down what time I went to bed, estimated time of falling asleep, any nighttime awakenings, and the time I woke up. I also jotted down how many caffeinated drinks I had during the day and any significant stressors.

Over time, patterns started to emerge. I noticed that on days when I had more caffeine or when I was particularly stressed, falling asleep was harder.

Keeping a sleep diary might seem like a lot of effort, but it can provide valuable insights into what’s preventing you from winding down at night. And once you know the cause, you can start working on a solution.

5) Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is a type of meditation where you focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment.

I started practicing mindfulness as a way to manage my racing thoughts at night.

I would sit quietly in my room, focus on my breathing, and let my thoughts come and go without engaging with them. It was hard at first, but with practice, it became easier.

Practicing mindfulness helped me create a mental distance from my thoughts and worries. Instead of getting caught up in them, I was able to observe them from a distance.

By doing so, I found that my mind naturally calmed down, making it easier for me to fall asleep.

6) Write a gratitude journal

In the midst of my struggles with winding down, I found solace in an unexpected place – a gratitude journal.

Every night before bed, I would write down three things I was grateful for that day. It could be something as simple as a good cup of coffee or a call with a friend.

This practice shifted my focus from the worries and stressors of the day to the things that brought me joy and happiness. It was a gentle reminder that even on the toughest days, there are things to be thankful for.

Writing in my gratitude journal became a highlight of my day. It was my own little bubble of positivity, and it played a big role in helping me wind down at night.

Gratitude has a powerful way of grounding us, reminding us of the good in our lives. And sometimes, that’s all we need to quieten our minds and drift off to sleep.

7) Say goodbye to screens before bed

I’ve always been a bit of a night owl, using the quiet hours to catch up on my favorite shows or scroll through social media. But I realized this habit was doing more harm than good.

The light emitted by screens can interfere with your body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. And the mental stimulation from engaging content can make it harder to switch off.

At first, it was tough. I missed my nightly Netflix binge and the mindless scrolling through Instagram. But I replaced these habits with more sleep-friendly activities like reading or listening to calming music.

Slowly but surely, I noticed a change. My mind began to quieten down earlier, and my sleep quality improved.

Switching off screens before bed might seem like a big ask in our digitally connected world. But trust me, the benefits are worth it. Give it a try, and you might find it easier to wind down at night.

8) Incorporate physical activity into your day

Physical activity is not only good for your overall health but also for your sleep. It can help reduce anxiety, improve mood, and promote better sleep.

I made a point to incorporate some form of physical activity into my day, whether it was a morning jog, an afternoon walk, or a yoga session in the evening.

The key is to find a form of exercise you enjoy and can stick with. Some people might prefer a vigorous workout, while others might benefit more from a gentle yoga routine.

But keep in mind that timing is crucial. Try not to exercise too close to bedtime as it could leave you feeling energized and make it harder to fall asleep.

Adding some physical activity into your daily routine can do wonders for your sleep. Not only can it help you wind down at night, but it can also improve the quality of your sleep.

9) Create a sleep-friendly environment

The environment in which you sleep can greatly impact your ability to wind down and get a good night’s rest.

Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and cool. Consider using earplugs or a white noise machine if you’re dealing with noise, and invest in blackout curtains or an eye mask to block out light.

Your mattress and pillows should be comfortable and supportive. And it’s worth considering if it’s time to replace them if you’re often waking up with aches and pains.

Creating a sleep-friendly environment is crucial for good sleep hygiene. With the right conditions, your body will naturally want to wind down and prepare for rest, helping you get the sleep you need.

The essence: It’s deeply personal

At the heart of it all, winding down at night is a deeply personal journey.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution, no magic pill that guarantees a quiet mind and a peaceful night’s sleep. What works for one person might not work for another.

The key lies in understanding that you are unique. Your thoughts, your worries, your body, and your mind – all of these elements are distinctly yours. And so, the path to finding peace at night needs to be uniquely yours too.

My journey led me to these habits. And they might work for you too. Or they might not. But perhaps they can be a starting point, a catalyst, to help you find your own path.

Mia Zhang

Mia Zhang blends Eastern and Western perspectives in her approach to self-improvement. Her writing explores the intersection of cultural identity and personal growth. Mia encourages readers to embrace their unique backgrounds as a source of strength and inspiration in their life journeys.

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